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Chantal

Flyball: box turn at high speed + striding

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Hi y'all! I'm trying to figure out the best way to help my boy get his box turn when he's going really fast. I'm trying to figure out a good combination of props and where to place them. Where I should be putting stride regulators down. I'll be filming him next practice, but I'm unsure about placement really.

 

He has a fine box turn normally, but when we do full runs he almost crashes into the box he's going so fast, I just can't figure out exactly what to use to collect him and make it one fluid motion. He's not slamming the box, he's trying to do a swimming turn, but he's going so fast he just can't quite get it in. He has a 8/9 feet takeout point in agility, huge balanced jump, he does susan salo jumping so he naturally gets it. IN flyball he obvioulsy single strides (bounce?) through the jumps. Would a stride regulator 5 feet from the last jump do it? I'm very much at a loss.

 

It's very much a collection problem and a when to do a swimmers turn as like i said he's fine when he ins't going top speed.

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This is one of those things where you really need someone there in person to figure out props and tweak them. Where do you live?

 

In the meantime, you need to go back to the distance where the dog was hitting correctly and solidify that turn more. Gradually increase the distance and make sure the dog retains the turn, if you get to the point where the turn breaks down, move to the last point where it was good.

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Thanks, I'll shot her a pm. I'll post a video in two weeks (darn practice breaks!), I live in Newfoundland, only club in the province and we are still very new. We have a lot of ideas from past workshops and such, but it is something that is so much easier to see in person. I can't wait till another clinician comes in, hopefully we have time to offer privates because that's what I need.

 

I can get a turn on a full run by the start line, but I guess I should gradually move his start point back like you said all over again, until he is hitting full speed again while maintaining the turn. Were still in the tweaking process of his start point, right now he seems to need the whole length of our building, about 50 feet runback to reach top speed, but I'm a bit worried as isn't the legal length? So I'm trying to see the exact point he need now, we'll have been training a year in September so were still getting things together.

 

Props, stride regulators, etc etc drive me crazy. I personally hate them, it's like target lids in agility, ground pole in riding. Feels like cheating lol, and I hate the dependence created. I know how useful they are and the mechanics of muscle memory, but I still hate them. :P

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Props in tourneys = cheating

Props outside of tourneys = training

Not using props in training a flyball turn = nasty, unsafe turn

 

Do you really want to risk your dog getting injured because of your hangups?

 

I don't follow your "legal length" question. Are you asking what is the minimum provided runback length in a tourney? I haven't followed any recent rule changes in the two flyball org's, but there previously wasn't a minimum set runback. There may be now though, check the rulebooks of whatever org's in which you plan to compete.

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There is a legal length now for tourneys which I think is about 50 ft or so but clubs can get an exception to the rule but the tourney will not count for regionals.

 

Re: Turn

I agree with Laura (Rave). You need to move your dog back slowly and when needed move up to keep the turn nice. I would keep the props in full time when in training and during warmups at tourneys. It takes many, many reps for muscle memory to stick so if you pull your props out too early the turn will breakdown. Also, in a tourney a turn may breakdown if the dog is getting tired because many times a dog is not in "flyball tourney shape" so will get lazy. I know from experience my newest flyball dog is having this issue currently.

 

On placement of props that really will depend on how you trained the turn originally, whether the dog is jumping onto the box to early compared to jumping late, etc...

 

You will need to post video in order to really get more help. Many times folks will put the prop too far from the box causing the dog to jump to the box early which causes the turn to breakdown. Some folks will use a prop incorrectly regarding positioning in general. Once you have video we will be able to help you more.

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Props, stride regulators, etc etc drive me crazy. I personally hate them, it's like target lids in agility, ground pole in riding. Feels like cheating lol, and I hate the dependence created. I know how useful they are and the mechanics of muscle memory, but I still hate them. :P

 

Why would you hate something that helps your dog? And why do you feel like you're cheating??? If you are learning something new do you use notes and other things to help youself during the learning process? We have to 'explain' things to our dogs in a way they can understand and that may include props.

 

Happy Training~

 

Janet

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I am definitely not an expert, but you want the dog to bounce the jumps down to the box, then, my understanding is on the last jump before the box, the dog should land, take a stride, land, and then launch for the box. All four of his feet hit the ground twice between the last jump and the box. For example, if your dog is doing the shortcut of trying to bounce between the last jump and the box (landing after the last jump and launching to the box), you position the stride regulators so that he is compelled to shorten his launch from the last jump before the box and take that extra stride. It lets him collect and diffuses some of the momentum. What it takes to accomplish that varies. We use sticks laying on the ground, sticks held by someone who moves them at just the right time to draw the dog's attention. I hear rumors of someone using a vacuum cleaner. Whatever works to get your dog doing it safely.

 

And, I have agree with what everyone said. Use props. Props are the way you coach your dog. They are the playbook of football, the choreographer of ice dancing, the drill sergeant of boot camp. And don't pick at it - using them just barely to get him to do it, then trying to phase them away. He will just get wise to noticing when the prop isn't there. Don't give your dog a chance to screw himself up or learn discernment on when to stride and when to just crash into the box. Trust me, I have a dog whom I have completely screwed up his turn. He can do a lovely turn over a prop and crashes into the box like a freight train at tournaments. Use the props every single time he practices, long past the time it seems necessary. It is probably the most important thing you can do for the health of your dog. I know of 11 and 12 year old dogs who still compete in high levels very well. They use props every single practice, still. I know of much younger dogs who need chiropractic adjustments after every tournament because they never got the right striding. It's not cheating - it's taking care of your dog. You don't want to screw up the dog's shoulders and back over what should be a fun little game for your dog.

 

Anyway, good luck, keep your dog safe, and have fun!

 

JMHO

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I've been working with my BC Jinx for three years to get him out of his box slamming tendencies. I've never seen a dog that had this problem as seriously as he did, he could be very reckless at times. He's very fast and he gets pretty excited. As mentioned by others, props and good use of them are essential. You should always use them in training. With help from a great trainer in our club, we've finally seemed to have found a combination of things that has helped turned the tide and is finally paying off in a good, safe turn. Lots of close box every week has been essential (he's always been great up close, it was the full runs where he fell apart) as well as lots of practice at different distances. At practice we keep changing the distance so he can't predict where he will be next, starting up close and working back and up again. This has helped keep the good turn up close becoming the good turn further back. Jinx uses an 10 inch practice jump 12 inches from the box with a three white plastic rain gutters ducted taped together and alternating black tape wrapped around it diagonally to resemble a sort of warning sign (which sits right in front of the practice jump). It's been a long, haul. At times, I wasn't sure if he'd ever really get it, but it's finally all coming together- he was in a tournament a couple weeks ago and ran like a Swiss watch all weekend. It was a great feeling to see him do so well.

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Sorry it's taken forever to reply! Forgot my password, so I had to wait to get on my laptop where I have it saved.

 

Props scare me because I'm scared when we do make it to competition (probably another years time) that everything will fall out the window. When people say they practice with props all the time to you really mean ALL the time? Or do you practice sometimes without to make the dog realize they have to hold the turn that way? Or is it a hope that with the thousands of repetitions muscle memory will take over with or without props?

 

Some of my teammates said they have some ideas for him, so I'm excited for next practice to see what combinations work with him. I'll also switch up the distance all the time form the box and practice more up close. I'm trying to get a loan out of a box now too so we can have the chance to practice a lot more.

 

Thanks everyone, and yes that what I meant for the runback length question.

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For many dogs that were taught with a prop, we try to always remember to put the prop and yes leave it there all the time. Even warmups at tourneys should have the props in but I admit my club is bad about this.

 

Some dogs will rarely have box issues and you don't need the props but some dogs always need a reminder. If you take the props away too soon there is a very good chance the boxturn will go bad and quickly.

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For many dogs that were taught with a prop, we try to always remember to put the prop and yes leave it there all the time. Even warmups at tourneys should have the props in but I admit my club is bad about this.

 

Some dogs will rarely have box issues and you don't need the props but some dogs always need a reminder. If you take the props away too soon there is a very good chance the boxturn will go bad and quickly.

 

Do you find that when using props in warmups, then taking them out at race time the dogs still turn thinking its there?

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The point is not for the dog to think the prop is there. The point is trying to get them to do the turn without thinking at all. It should just be part of the game. The props just help make sure the dog knows what is expected. You will see many boxes with white at the bottom of the box to "similate" the jump. I don't know if this really helps or not.

 

There are many dogs out there that have fabulous turns with props but once the props come out the turn goes to crap. It may go to crap as soon as the prop comes out or it may take 2-3 runs before it happens. There are many teams out there that as soon as the turn starts going bad the dog is pulled from the race. I don't do this with my club since we don't really have that serious of a team or dogs that are fast enough to hurt themselves. Well we do have 2 dogs that are fast enough and have terrible boxturns and I am surprised more injuries haven't happened.

 

Now the decision you have to make is what kind of boxturn you want on your dog. Personally, I am ok with a 3 footed boxturn but I do prefer a 4 footed one. Also, when you look at the turn is it an up and down turn or my of a side turn (hard to explain)? The up and down turn is not correct and I believe that many dogs that were trained with an up and down turn are much slower on the box, have a tendency to bobble and some jump early to the box causing them to crash the box without props.

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Props scare me because I'm scared when we do make it to competition (probably another years time) that everything will fall out the window. When people say they practice with props all the time to you really mean ALL the time? Or do you practice sometimes without to make the dog realize they have to hold the turn that way? Or is it a hope that with the thousands of repetitions muscle memory will take over with or without props?

 

The reason to practice with props all the time (including warm ups at tournaments) is so that it becomes routine- the dog doesn't have to think about it. Whether it's muscle memory or simply habit, the theory is that the dog then runs in a safe, correct way without the props simply because he's done it so many times.

 

I'm curious to see how my dog runs this weekend at our tournament after the recent work we've done with a speedbump before the box. He has a nice turn, but he hits the box harder than I'd like. He's probably "ok" as it is, but I'd feel better with a little bit softer, gentler turn.

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Please post the video when you get it. It might be something as simple as a knee for the dog to go around or changing the foot mark where you let the dog go. My dog will have a terrible box from 50' but great at 46'.

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